Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Money, Money, Money

I never thought I was good at managing my money. In college, my bank account was nearly $0.00 ninety percent of the time. If it wasn't at $0.00, it was negative. Ok, I might be exaggerating a little, I only over withdrew twice. I had enough to buy my books, my groceries and (most importantly) alcohol. What else do you need in college? I was set.

Entering the "real world" was a bit of an adjustment. There were several more things that had to be paid for: rent, cell phone, cable, gas/electric, transportation, work clothes, even more groceries and (of course) alcohol. I meant to make a budget for myself, several times, and never did. But I managed. I learned to live on what I made and never over withdrew my account.

Lately, despite the recession, I feel like I've been spending more. Maybe I've been spending the same amount but it just feels like more because of the recession. How am I supposed to know? It's not like I balance my checkbook or keep track of my spending. I don't have time for that. And if you asked me how, I'd have no idea how to balance a checkbook.

Recently, I noticed Mint.com mentioned on a few blogs that I read. It's a money management site that makes it easy for you to track your debit and credit card transactions and set a monthly budget for all of your expenses. You can also have emails or texts sent to you when you are close to hitting your monthly budget on, say, shopping or taxis.

I only joined Mint yesterday and have only used it for creating a budget. But I've read that it can help in paying off student loans and lowering credit card interest rates.

In times like these, it's a good to have an idea of your spending habits and a budget (even if you go over it once or twice). So if you're like me and need a little help managing and keeping track of your spending, I'd check it out.

26 comments:

Carmen said...

Ooohhh... we need a mint.com for Canadians - I keep reading about it but it doesn't support our banks. Good luck with the budget.

Ambles said...

Thanks for the tip!

~Mary said...

oh i tried to use it but it doesn't support British Banks! I was gutted!!
I'd love t use Mint.com!

Sarah said...

I am getting ready to graduate college in May, and I am so nervous about having to pay for all of the stuff Mom & Dad currently pay for!

Indy Real Estate Girl said...

I really like Mint.com because it's pretty user friendly and has nice graphics. You can then see at the end of each month what you have been spending all your money on and try and make yourself a budget. They also have a handy iPhone app as well.

Jen - The Secret Keeper said...

I think I'd be too scared of the black and White truth of what I was spending to sign up!! X

howunremarkable said...

Wow, I just set mine up...It's kind of scary to see it all out in front of you!

Adventures in Newlywed said...

That's a great idea!

ChinkyGirLMeL said...

I just found the best way to keep myself from overspending. Solution: credit card is with mom or boyfriend. No credit card= no spending. Lols. Anyhow. I'll be checking out mint.com soon. thanks for sharing that.

High-heel gal said...

I tried mint.com, but found that it didn't really alter or help my spending habits. I got a nifty spreadsheet from fabulously broke in the city (a blogger...check her out) She made it up herself and it's very detailed and works so much better than mint.

Anonymous said...

My credit card provider does that automatically. When I log in online, I can select my budget for the specific category, and ask them to mail/text me when I am nearing my budget. It's a pretty awesome tool when you have a billion things to pay for. (Oh and for Carmen, I'm Canadian!)

Anonymous said...

I created this great tool for myself on excel. It takes me ONE minute a day to update my spending and it tells me how much money I have less to spend, and how much money I'm expected to spend over the next couple of months. Once you get started on the money management, its addicting.

jessica said...

The thought of money just makes me have a panic attack. Thanks for the tip though!

Jess P said...

I just signed up for it. I looove it!!!!!!!! I really need some financial guidance in my life. Thanks for the tip!

Moi said...

thanks for the great tip!

alyssa said...

Mint.com is my fav! It e-mailed me the other day to let me know I exceeded my coffee budget for last month (yes, yes I did set up a coffee budget - hah!)...oopsies! I love their nifty little pie charts. It also emails me when I have a payment due for like car or credit cards. yesssss!

Lindsay said...

I could definitely use something like this, I'm gonna check it out.

Ms. Salti said...

Thanks for the suggestion. It's definitely something I could use. I'll have to check it out.

wendy said...

Good tip! It's kind of depressing to see what percentage of my income goes to rent, though. Dammit!

Jason said...

Love the site...voted for ya on the Blogger Choice Awards. Check out my friends blog and vote if ya like.

Daily Gif Blog

kcox said...

i started using mint.com a few weeks ago. my roommate got quite a laugh looking at my pie charts that were primarily "housing/rent" and "bars/alcohol". the only change i've made is to only use my bank's atm, those $2 atm fees sure add up.. orrrr thats all i can commit myself to tackling right now

Michele said...

Yeah i couldn't get mint.com to work for me, maybe its cause im in canada? not sure, but this seems like such a good idea! im absolutely horrible with my money! :(

Dani said...

Thanks for the tip, I will have to check it out!

Sweet Carolina Bride said...

Thanks so much for letting us know about this site! I've already signed up and love it!

Fabulously Broke said...

I hate Mint.com only because I feel VERY weird letting a site download my transactional info, and putting sensitive data into a money management website that could potentially get hacked into and access your banking AND credit card info.

Just saying. I am a bit paranoid about data sensitivity though.

I shop online with credit cards but only because I can stop suspicious transactions right away.

It's why I came up with my own budgeting spreadsheet that you just keep on your laptop and use it in Excel. It's a heck of a lot safer in my opinion...

And you can set it up to do what you want rather than going by Mint's rules.

Fabulously Broke in the City

"Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver."

George said...

Hey great..mint.com guide seems to be very helpful in tracking up people's budget..Thanks for the tip I would definitely try it out.